Claude McKay's Early Poetry (1911-1922): A Digital Collection

The Little Peoples

The little peoples of the troubled earth,
the little nations that are weak and white:—
For them the glory of another birth.
​For them the lifting of the veil of night.
The big men of the world in concert met,
Have sent forth in their power a new decree:
Upon the old harsh wrongs the sun must set,
Henceforth the little people must be free!

But we, the blacks, less than the trampled dust
Who walk the news ways with the old dime eyes,—
We to the ancient gods of greed and lust
​Must still be offered up as sacrifice:
Oh, we who deign to live but will not dare,
The white world's burden must forever bear!

​(The Liberator [New York], July 1919; Workers Dreadnought [London], September 1919)
​(Edited and Proofread by Amardeep Singh)

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